Students Offer Top Tips for Animal Care this Halloween

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27 October 2023

Five students, three holding animals, with lecturer, all wearing blue lab coats in animal house

Three students, two with live animals and one with model dog, all wearing blue lab coats in animal house.

Level 2 Traineeship NI Animal Care students at our Downpatrick and Lisburn Campuses have been highlighting the dangers to pets and animals during the Halloween festivities.

Hannah Rodgers, Animal Care Management Lecturer said, “This time of year can be very stressful for pets and animals, so our students are keen to share how everyone can make it a less anxious time for them, with a little bit of planning. As part of their course, the students have been researching the potential harm to pets and animals and are keen to share their top tips for keeping them out of danger over the holiday.”

Top tips from the SERC team include:

  • Walk your dog early to avoid loud noises from fireworks and keep pets indoors when the festivities start. Lots of animals get lost at Halloween because they get frightened and run away.
  • Check all bonfires well before lighting for small animals such as cats and hedgehogs.
  • Don’t put costumes on pets, cute as it may seem, they can be uncomfortable and cause stress.
  • Keep dogs away from your door, with food and water, so they don’t worry about the flow of people in costumes ‘trick or treating’.
  • Leave the radio or white noise on to cover the sound of fireworks. We recommend classical music or anything else soothing.
  • Reassure them with constant check-ups; enrichment games like stuffed Kongs or sniffing games have been shown to lower heartrate and reduce stress.
  • Chocolate and grapes can poison dogs – make sure treats for humans are kept away from animals.  

In extreme cases, you can talk to your vet about anxiety medication for your pet.

Main Picture: Leia Giesel, Abbie Megaw  with Sheldon the horse field tortoise, Grace Marshall with Houdini the corn snake, Jessica Chapman with Marvin the bearded dragon, Teri Woods and Animal Care Management Lecturer, Hannah Rodgers in the Animal House at Lisburn Campus.  

Inset picture: Level 2 Traineeship NI in Animal Care students, Joshua Jennings, Daire Magee, and Arabella Kincaid-Beattie with Lucille the bearded dragon, Willow the guinea pig and Garth the training model dog at the College’s Downpatrick Campus.